Socially-Conscious Brands to Help People in the Arab World
By: Dani Meyer/Arab America Contributing Writer
Shopping is a great way to express support for a cause. There are so many brands and companies that help people in the Arab world, especially women artisans. Here is a list of six great socially conscious brands from the Arab world that provide fair wages and employment opportunities, as well as using their profits to support local movements. These companies produce a wide variety of beautiful products.
1. Baby Fist Collective
Baby Fist Collective is a fashion cooperative based in Ramallah, Palestine. They use their clothing to reflect and celebrate all Arab identities. All of their apparel is manufactured in a family-run factory in Gaza. All products are sent through multiple checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank before they get to your doorstep. Additionally, 10% of all profits go to the Menstruation Education Campaign, which is a project aiming to expand access to menstrual education throughout the West Bank.
Watan is an Arab American-owned store located in Chicago and Amman. They use their products to promote a Palestinian identity and share the struggles that they have faced as Arab Americans. Their shop includes apparel with various Arabic sayings, pillows with Palestinian designs, and art prints that celebrate Palestine.
3. Wear the Peace
Wear the Peace is another Palestinian American-owned shop. This clothing brand uses their unique designs to promote peace and nonviolence as a way to enact change. For every piece of clothing sold, they donate a new hoodie, crewneck, longsleeve, or t-shirt through Cradles to Crayons in Chicago and Helping Hands for Relief and Development worldwide. Additionally, they donate profits from sales of all hats, jewelry and other accessories to HHRD and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. To date they have donated 8,000 pieces of clothing and $10,000 in cash, money that is sent to refugee camps to help with educational facilities, medical care, food and water and more.
4. Souk and Soul
Souk and Soul is a women-owned business based in Washington, DC and Marrakech. They collaborate directly with artisans in Morocco. The profits go back to the artisans themselves, as well as being invested into artisan communities both in the US and Morocco. Their shop is filled with one-of-a-kind handmade pieces, such as rugs, candles, and jewelry.
Muhra is centered around Syrian women. The products are created by Syrian refugees who are rebuilding their lives in Istanbul, and proceeds from purchases go directly to the women who made the products. They have a special line, called Drop Earrings Not Bombs, which are handmade, unique earrings. In addition to the earrings, the women of Muhra make necklaces and bracelets as well as hand sewn t-shirts with inspiring Arab women on the front, including the Egyptian singer Um Kalthoum and the Lebanese pop star Feyrouz. They aim to represent the growth, strength and resilience of women all around the world.
6. Sitti Soap
Sitti Soap was created by women working and living in Jordan’s Jerash “Gaza” Refugee Camp. Their product line began with a simple bar of olive oil soap, but has since expanded to include skincare, home good items, and even some apparel. Sitti has an all-female staff, and provides financial support to all of the women in the “Gaza” Refugee Camp. The olive oil used to make the soap is locally sourced from the Jordan Valley.
7. Iraq al-Amir
The Iraq al-Amir Women’s Cooperative was founded in 1993 by the Noor Al Hussein Foundation. They aim to make women in the area financially independent and to raise their standard of living. The cooperative is managed and run by local women. They have provided training projects for more than 150 women in the area. The women are working to preserve many traditional methods of ceramics, olive oil soaps, fiber papermaking, handweaving, and food processing. They also host workshops to teach guests about these traditional crafting methods.
8. Bubu & Lulu Toys
Bubu & Lulu Toys is a Social Enterprise company that works with the UNRWA Rehabilitation Centre in Jerash (Gaza) Refugee Camp. They work to provide long-term sustainable employment for a deaf carpenter, Hassan, to generate a fair income through his craft. They specialize in creating safe, handcrafted wooden toys for kids. Bubu & Lulu has partnered with local designers to create beautifully designed toys that bring the basics back to children’s toys. They also use a portion of their proceeds to donate books to children in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, as well as underprivileged children in Afghanistan.
These eight brands are a great way to support Arab Americans and Arab artisans. Have another socially conscious brand you love? Let us know in the comments!
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